Neil Young Hits the Vein on “The Needle and the Damage Done”

It’s January 19, 1971. Contrasting the cold winter evening, Toronto’s Massey Hall is a radiator of heat, energy, and electricity. Omemee, Ontario’s (about 175 kilometers NE of Toronto) prodigal son, Neil Young, has returned for a much-anticipated, sold-out performance. The stage is sparsely occupied, as his band Crazy Horse is nowhere to be seen. Despite […]

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy Whispers his Alienation on “Wolf Among Wolves”

She holds a phantomShe kisses and she hugs himAnd I am notAverse to how she loves him Why must I live and walk, unloved as what I am? If the opening verse of Will Oldham’s (AKA Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy) melancholic masterpiece does not immediately thrust one into existential catatonia, then perhaps one should search their […]

Mark Lanegan Performs his own Exorcism on “The Beast in Me”

The ol’ in-laws. Typically tolerated rather than cherished, “put your best face on and get through the dinner, already” kind of fodder. If you’re English singer-songwriter Nick Lowe, however, this trope could not be farther from the truth. Not when your (ex) father-in-law is The Man in Black – Johnny Cash. It’s 1994 and Lowe, […]

Demanding Answers on Tom Waits’ “What’s He Building?”

The American Dream. Long heralded as one of life’s ultimate destinations, it immediately evokes untattered images of picket fences, manicured flora, children’s laughter, and, of course, “keeping up with the Joneses” – the everlasting opportunity to peek over said flora in attempts to truly understand and out-class your neighbors. Now, what happens when we subtract […]

Radiohead’s “Exit Music (for a Film)” is at Once the Most Haunting and Yet Sparse Offering of Their 30-Year Career

Most 13-year old boys’ primary endeavors revolve around extracurricular sports and navigating budding romantic feelings for schoolmates. At 13, Thom Yorke, singer of British music icons Radiohead, was reduced to tears during a scene of Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. Fast-forward 14 years. Radiohead is on tour supporting their sophomore LP The […]

“Wake Up” by Mad Season: Layne Staley’s Final Battle Cry

For ten long yearsThe leaves to rake upSlow suicide’s no way to go In early 1995, just as the crest of the Seattle wave is beginning to lose shape, preparing to dissipate into a sea of calm, predictable, tepid ripples, a work of quiet genius and generosity is forming. Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready, fresh from […]

Why Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” endures

You know that feeling when you’ve discovered a song and it feels personal to you? It feels like something in that song is speaking to you, and no one else. Then you find out that millions of people are listening to that song and it feels jaded, it feels like it’s no longer special because […]

Daughter Contemplates the Ravages of Time on “Doing the Right Thing”

22% of adults aged 84-89. 33% of adults over the age of 90. Those are the growing statistics surrounding the word that invokes pause among the aging or those with aging loved ones: dementia. Adding to the cruelty, daughters are 4% more likely to develop dementia (AKA Alzheimer’s Disease) than sons are. It’s 2015 and […]

Portishead Lets Us Down Softly on “Roads”

Are we there yet? Undoubtedly, reading this question likely conjures one imagined scenario: A long, less-than-exhilarating road trip, where anticipation of some form of accomplishment or great adventure fuels and fills the passing miles. One could argue that life is a nearly-imperceptible reflection of a long, arduous road trip, and that is precisely where Portishead […]

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